Hmmm…that is quite the question. I was inspired when a young lady asked whether she should take medication or not in a post on a group page on facebook. The conversation is just so 'significant' and HUGE so here I am writing this blog.
It is such a touchy subject, medication that is, and people are so passionate about it at times! I know I am, but I am careful to take a diplomatic approach to the subject that can often raise tempers and flare nostrils. lol When I was first diagnosed I was in a deep psychosis – seeing things, hearing things, believing things that were not true. I was fed medication upon staying at the hospital and slowly I was withdrawn from my deep insanity and brought back to the land of the 'normal'. There is no doubt that without meds I would have not been brought back to life as fast as I was, but as I was released, the side effects of the medication began to take hold. I started to notice my slim figure disappearing as I had to buy pants that were bigger and bigger. I soon started getting acne which was horrifying for me as I never had any troublesome skin conditions. I also felt an 'acid trip' like feeling at times, where the world looked surreal and the paranoia was so overwhelming that it drove me to my bed crying during the evenings. I eventually stopped my meds cold turkey, ditched my psychiatrist and soon wound up in a hospital bed in the ICU for three days for a suicide attempt. I was so depressed that I could barely feed myself and I believe that it was indeed the illness that got the worst of me and if I had been on a stable med regime with a proper support system, my life would not have been in danger.
Do I take meds now since the attempt? Yes, definitely. I take three types of medications: a mood stabilizer to ease those ups and downs, the anti-psychotic to keep the voices at bay and one that eases my depression but it is not an anti-depressant, which often negatively affect people with bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist monitors me every 3 months with blood tests to ensure that my kidneys and liver are working perfectly, but to take or not to take is still the question. Medication does not work for everybody and so people may be resistant. I feel lucky that with the tweaks of my meds here and there, I can still live a good life, a great life even. Does medication play a large role in my success – yes, definitely. My medication is only part of my support system and having a great psych team helps with regular visits, along with educating myself about the drugs I take, so I do ask a LOT of questions. Sure I don't have the skinniest waist line and my skin is not picture perfect, but I am sane, happy and enjoying life. It is a choice that is individual and you have to ask how severe your condition is and discuss this with a doctor that knows you well enough to determine whether meds are right for you. I also take a natural supplement to sleep called 'melatonin', which gives me an alterative to the pharmaceutical sleep meds, so explore these types of options too. To take or not to take? That is only a question that you can answer with the help of the people that care about you. You can always try and if it doesn't work out for you, then explore your options from that point on. Just ensure that you are taken care of and monitored closely. HUGS!! Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe